Non-profit organization American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF) filed comments with the EPA March 22 stating that the EPA’s tougher proposed air quality standards for ozone could be met, in part, by greater use of natural gas for power generation and transportation.
The EPA’s proposed new ozone rule, announced in January, would tighten primary ground-level ozone standards to between .060 and .070 parts per million (ppm) as measured in an 8-hour period. (The current primary ozone standard is .075 ppm.) A secondary standard designed to protect vegetation and forested ecosystems would have a cumulative, seasonal limit of 7 to 15 ppm-hours. The EPA comment period on the proposed rule ended March 22.
In its comments, ACSF undlerlined that as compared to coal and gasoline, the combustion of natural gas releases a small fraction of the nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that can lead to ozone pollution.
The organization supports the EPA’s choice of stricter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, saying they are “science-based and adequately protect public health and the environment.”
But ACSF cautioned EPA not to set ozone limits at levels that “are so stringent that the production and use of natural gas are unduly impacted because increased natural gas use is a key part of any solution for reducing overall ground-level ozone.”
ACSF provided specific recommendations that include the need to aggressively develop markets for natural gas vehicles within strategic transportation sectors, including commercial and private fleets, school buses, delivery trucks and taxi cabs. ACSF also advises that the EPA and states, through their state implementation plans, should pursue regulatory approaches that maximize the use of natural gas. Additionally, ACSF suggests that EPA work with individual states to reduce any regulatory or infrastructure barriers to greater use of natural gas in the electricity